In the age of Kickstarter it is theoretically possible for any TV show with a dedicated online following to become a feature-length film. Veronica Mars was the first franchise to prove this idea true, and now Blue Mountain State, a Spike TV college sports comedy that received just 39 episodes, has proven it true once more. The Rise Of Thadland is the result of $1.5 million campaign that launched nearly two years after the show was canceled, and for better or worse fans are getting exactly what they paid for. The gang is back, as is the filth, but now all of the barriers that restrained the boundary-pushing series are no longer present (for better and worse).
For those unfamiliar with the series, Blue Mountain State is about a fictional university and its football team, the Mountain Goats. Viewers follow the lives of the hard-partying, drug-and-sex-loving players on the team through the eyes of Alex Moran (Darin Brooks), a talented quarterback who chooses to apply his intelligence to celebrating life to the extreme in a manner not unlike the leads of college comedy classics like Animal House or Van Wilder. In fact, it’s exactly like those films, only now there is a sports element that helps propels the narrative forward.
The Rise Of Thadland finds the Mountain Goats learning that the school’s new dean is planning to take away their home, The Goat House. In hopes of saving the day Alex turns to Thad Castle (Alan Ritchson), the team’s former linebacker who recently signed a major deal to go pro, in hopes of convincing him to buy the house and give it back to the team. Thad agrees, but he first requests that Alex fulfill his childhood dream of creating a theme pack in his own honor. It’s exactly like Disneyland, only it rains cocaine in the entry and there is a bath salt bubble room. Also, women. Lots of nameless, empty-minded girls who exist to fill space and look sexy. You know, typical college-movie fodder.
The party comes together in no time at all and things are perfectly fine at first, but when the drugs run low and the gang turns to a strange new concoction to get their rocks off, the party quickly goes from extremely good to extremely bad in ways that are, at times, almost too obscene to describe. From beastiality and psychedelic threeways, to visions of the future, stupefying conversations and all the sex jokes a person could think to make, the back half of Thadland plays like an exercise in comedic hedonism. For some that will be an adventure worth pursuing, but it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.
What sets Rise Of Thadland apart from the countless debauchery-filled college sex comedies just like it is exactly what set Blue Mountain State apart during its two year run on the air, and that is its fully realized world. The characters of BMS, though utterly ridiculous and profane in every sense of the word, are so alive that it’s hard not to fall for one or more. Whether it’s Moran’s jackass charm or Thad’s absent-minded hilarity, rooting for the Mountain Goats is something that is nearly impossible to resist. There is also a lesson to be learned amid the chaos, and though its importance pales in comparison to the fun from a narrative perspective, its existence in the film offers a little balance to the constant barrage of on-screen absurdity.
All actors from the original series return for The Rise Of Thadland, but something tells me this will be the last time the cast reunites for another adventure. The party is fun enough while it lasts, but just how much entertainment any individual will find is directly related to their tolerance for dick jokes and gags about doing coke. There is no reason to return, nor should you expect a demand for the series to be resurrected. This is the Mountain Goats’ final bow, and for what it’s worth they do it their way until the very end.